Students Learn from ConocoPhillips’ Vice President of Corporate Planning and Strategy
Students in Dr. Becky Lafrancois’ Corporate Finance class received a visit from a Mines alumna who has had a successful career at ConocoPhillips. Ms. Fran Vallejo, ’87, graduated from Mines with a degree in Math and Geophysics. She began her career as a Geophysicist working on seismic processing and exploration. Eventually, she was attracted to the business side of the company when she had the opportunity to be a gas supply representative. She furthered her study in business with an MBA from Rice University and began climbing the corporate ladder with positions in the Treasury Department, Portfolio Management, and Corporate Planning before taking the role of Treasurer, and now Vice President of Corporate Planning and Development, for ConocoPhillips.
Ms. Vallejo spent a class period with the students and discussed her career path. She stressed the importance for hard work, a willingness to try new things, and the desire to continuously learn. Her path to senior leadership was over 30 years in the making, and she emphasized that success does not happen overnight. In addition to discussing her career, she spent a good portion of her time introducing how some of the topics that are taught in the Corporate Finance course are used at ConocoPhillips. These topics included cash flow decisions, capital structure and the use of debt financing, capital budgeting, and capital allocation. She also provided a case study of ConocoPhillips’ strategy of investing in North American unconventionals and divesting from deep-water sources. She took questions from the students who were interested in learning about issues ranging from her decision to study for her MBA to the way the company estimates its capital costs.